Canberra’s autumn, gardening and cockatoos at the almond cafe..

Autumn in Canberra is all about the changing light,  birds flying in and out of the garden, and the pleasant gardening weather.

Easter is a time when all the almonds on our tree have ripened, and the shells have softened after some much needed rain in the last few weeks. This means the almond cafe is open for business.

For those new to my blog,  cockatoos love softened almonds, and especially when they fall on the carport roof.  This allows them to eat and chat in relative safety. They are very sociable birds, and the young ones in this photo seem to very happy with their almonds.

There were fourteen cockatoos on the carport roof and the almond tree when this photo was taken.

Interestingly, most cockatoos seem to consistently hold food in their left claw…

Our garden has changed over time, and now some of our bigger trees need trimming every year. The apple tree on the right hand side is the only tree in the garden to get special treatment, clipped by a trained arborist.

…thus the lovely shape in summer.

Last autumn Paul cleared a large section of the garden, and we had fun choosing some new plants, something you don’t get a chance to do very often in an established garden.

This year Paul re-did the paths with wood chips and put mulch all around the plants.

It looks like a completely new garden!

We have two rain water tanks. The white tank in the photo below is the smaller one, kept purely for this garden. It is attached to the carport so that rain water can drain from the roof of the carport into the water tank.

It is lovely to see Paul’s hard work paying off this year, the garden is flourishing, especially the two Manchurian Pears, the Snowy River Wattles (Acacia), and a Grevillea called a Bronze Rambler….. and this plant sure does know how to ramble!

And following the path up to the carport (and water tank) are some Camellias, and the first flower has just arrived from the oldest bush.


Our front garden is the most affected by frost and heat. In this tough climate, the Canberra Belle (Correa) is one of the most rewarding plants, they survive all, and give the bees a chance in autumn with these pretty little bell flowers. They are indeed the Belles of Canberra..

Another lovely autumn flowering plant is The Chinese Lantern Plant (Abutilons)

I have previously quoted the poet Dorothea McKellar’s poem  Australian Autumn and here are a few lines from the poem again….

”This is the gentlest season of the year.

From mists of pearl and gold

The slow sweet hours unfold….

An autumn view of the Brindabella Mountains from our street.

I hope you are enjoying your season, or changing season, where ever you are in the world. What is your favourite season of the year?


Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved









18 Replies to “Canberra’s autumn, gardening and cockatoos at the almond cafe..”

  1. It is such a pleasure to read this post, good descriptions of your beautiful garden and a splendid quote to finish with, thank you.

  2. Your gardens look lovely. Your hard work paid off, and now you can sit and enjoy. I always love your birds because the only place we would see a beautiful cockatoo would be in a zoo, bird sanctuary or a pet store. I like seeing yours at the almond buffet much better. 🙂 Fall is not my favorite season because of the leaves. What falls down must be removed. 🙂 This area has so many large old oaks that the leaves can’t be left or they will seriously impact the perennials and shrubs. So, fall and spring means a lot of work. I guess I like summer best when I can work outside and enjoy my plants. Hope you can some rain to fill up your tanks. We have had nothing but rain this entire month.

    1. Thank Judy, it is very rewarding to see the growth in the garden over a year. I can see why you love summer and dislike autumn, large oak trees are a problem even in Canberra.

  3. Your garden looks completely transformed, Geraldine. I can see all the creativity that has gone into it. It looks like a most inviting place to sit with a good book and a cup of coffee – taking time out to enjoy the birds.

  4. My goodness, what a terrific post! So much to admire, from those lovely cockatoos to your wonderful garden. You have made your yard a beautiful, productive, sustainable place not only for you but also for the wildlife. Holy cats, I’m impressed!

  5. Such a beautiful post, Gerrie. Your garden looks so inviting after all of Paul’s hard work. I’m sure you helped too. The Camellia flower is exquisite and I love those dainty little crimson bells. “Cockatoos at the Almond Café” sounds wonderful. It reminded me that I had an almond tree outside my bedroom window when I was a young girl in England. I loved to see it in blossom and one day whilst I was at school, my dad inexplicably chopped it down. I was devastated and never understood why. 🙁

    1. What a pity to have your almond tree cut down, it is the prettiest flowering tree in our garden in spring, I can see why you would miss it. I love that Camellia flower too.

  6. Fourteen cockatoos! How wonderful! Your garden does look good! It is so satisfying when planned improvements and the hard work necessary to implement them make such a positive difference.

  7. Loved those lines from the poem and the accompanying images. I just can’t imagine being able to grow almonds, or having those cheeky cockatoos….how wonderful! I do love the shape of the apple tree and how your new garden has established itself so quickly. Yes, all that hard work has paid off! xxx

  8. I always love your bird pictures. Perhaps the cockatoos have an etiquette for eating with their left, just as people in India and the middle east always eat with their right when they eat with their hands.

    1. Glad you enjoy the cockatoos as we do…( despite ruthless digging up of my bulbs) Cockatoos are so complex anything is possible with the left claw eating… I realised when I started this blog that there seems surprisingly little research on cockatoos in the wild.

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